Bernie Sanders Blasts Goldman Sachs’ Claim It Does ‘God’s Work’
“Lloyd Blankfein said Goldman Sachs does ‘God’s work.’ Is that what he called it when Goldman Sachs made millions pumping up the cost of food for starving people across the world?”
Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein traded jabs over Twitter on Friday, a reflection of the Vermont senator’s disdain for recession-era Wall Street executives who were not punished after the subprime mortgage crisis.
“During the Wall Street crash an estimated 15 million families lost their homes. Lloyd Blankfein didn’t lose his home or his job. His bank got an $824 billion taxpayer bailout and Blankfein became a billionaire,” Sanders tweeted.
Sanders has frequently admonished Goldman Sachs and other “too-big-too-fail” banks for intentionally misleading investors about the risks of their mortgage-backed securities in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. Almost none of the top bankers were criminally prosecuted despite clear evidence of fraud, and the banks’ executives gave themselves multimillion dollar bonuses immediately after being rescued by a massive taxpayer bailout.
Blankfein makes an entry on Sen. Sanders’ list of “anti-endorsements,” a collection of negative statements made about the Democratic Socialist by various billionaires and CEOs.
“It has the potential to be a dangerous moment,” the former executive is quoted saying on Sanders’ website, referring to the senator’s presidential candidacy.
The list demonstrates Sanders’ uniquely adversarial campaign; instead of courting big-money donors, he openly challenges them.
“Lloyd Blankfein said Goldman Sachs does ‘god’s work.’ Is that what he called it when Goldman Sachs made millions pumping up the cost of food for starving people across the world?” Sanders tweeted, posting an article from Business Insider about how the investment bank made $400 million off of food speculation from 2007-2012, contributing to spikes and crashes in the market and driving impoverished people into starvation.
“Don’t know why Sen. Sanders picks on a retiree like me. I think he’s always looked down on me because he grew up in a fancier neighborhood in Brooklyn,” quipped Blankfein in response.
“Actually, my concern has to do with the fact that you had no problem getting bailed out by working Americans, while you’ve been picking on them by advocating for cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” Sanders responded.
“Didn’t know I was against all those necessary and well-established social programs. Actually, I think we have more in common than you think….,” tweeted Blankfein, “two self-made millionaires from Brooklyn who lean a bit to the left!”
Sanders then posted a video of the former Goldman CEO speaking in an interview: “Entitlements have to be slowed and contained,” Blankfein said, “Because we can’t afford them.”
“Sry, didn’t think slowing expansion of entitlements in a dismal economy meant I was for getting rid of those programs,” contended the former executive. “I support those programs and GDP growth!”
The Twitter clash wasn’t the first time Sanders and Blankfein traded barbs – Sanders disparaged the former CEO in February for stock buybacks, which is when a company buys back its own stock. Sanders and other critics argue buybacks disproportionately help the rich while detracting from investment in research and development.
Sanders’ anti-endorsement list shows the particular enmity several politically active billionaires reserve for the senator.
“We love all 23 candidates. No, minus one. I profoundly dislike Bernie Sanders. He thinks every billionaire is a crook. He calls us ‘the billionaire class.’ And he attacks us indiscriminately,” said billionaire and prominent campaign financier Haim Saban.
Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone went a step further, saying: “In 2016 I saw Bernie Sanders and the kids around him. I thought: ‘This is the antichrist!'”
Sanders quotes President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on his anti-endorsement page: “They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.”